Edwin L. Hoopes III

Year of Graduation: 
Members of the golf team practicing

Alum ensures golf team stays the course.

Golf is a challenging sport to play on a perfect summer day. When the New England winter hits, forget about it. As coach Bob “Beetle” Bailey says, “Mother Nature is tough to beat.” 

To keep Exonians swinging through every season, Bailey assembled an indoor training room on the second floor of Love Gym. “We commandeered an old squash court about 10 years ago,” he says, “and jury-rigged the space together.” Slowly, but surely, they added simulators, hitting nets and a putting surface. When the new Downer Family Fitness Center opened in 2015, Bailey repurposed the old lockers for golf-bag storage.

Despite all of his efforts, the room never quite matched the quality of the players, Bailey says. That changed this academic year thanks to a generous donation from Edwin L. Hoopes III ’61. The Hoopes ’61 Golf Fund supported a complete renovation of the team’s “clubhouse” and will continue to help provide for golfers’ supplemental needs — think greens fees, travel, meals, uniforms and coaching staff professional development — for years to come. 

Edwin Hoopes '61 (seated, middle) and the 1961 golf team. 

Hoopes was a three-year varsity golf team member and captain his senior year. When he returned to campus for his 50th reunion, he caught up with Coach Bailey and played a round with some of his old teammates at Breakfast Hill Golf Club. Hoopes fondly recalled his years playing for the Academy. “The golf team had no transportation to the course, so we walked from Abbot to the Exeter Country Club ... with our bags on our shoulders and we thought nothing of it,” he said. “We had a good team, good coaches, we bonded on those walks. ... And we never lost to Andover!”

It was formative memories like these and a lifelong passion for golf that inspired his gift. “I love the game, and it’s a wonderful way to spend time with a person that you may not have known, but after spending time with them on the golf course, you know each other a lot better.” 

Hoopes passed away last summer before the golf-room update was complete, but his legacy lives on. “The [golfers] have been using the area since their return in September, and with the weather turning colder it will get used every day,” Bailey says. “Thanks to Ed, the kids will hit the ground running in the spring!”

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the winter 2020 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.